Chapter published in:Biografies invisibles / Invisible Biographies: Marginats i marginals / Marginates and marginals
Edited by Vicent Josep Escartí
[IVITRA Research in Linguistics and Literature 28] 2021
► pp. 26–39
Vida quotidiana i marginalitat femenina a la València del segle XV
This article focuses on the description of the other view of Valencia in the 15th century, that of social marginalization, which, in addition to excluding a large part of society suffering from contagious diseases, could be manifested in a more concrete way for exercising various trades that are considered as immoral. The following pages offer a description of two female groups, particularly treated as vile and despicable: the healers, sorceresses and witches, whose strength was considered to have a demonic origin, and the prostitutes, dedicated to cover a “minor evil” in society, but seen as unworthy by society, because of the practical exercise of their trade.As for the healers, both the sermons of St. Vincent and the texts of didactic and moralizing literature attack this profession, which, on the other hand, was required on many occasions. In this sense, Jaume Roig’s Spill presents a whole series of superstitious practices, exercised by women doctors. This natural inclination of women to superstition, understood as an exponent of popular culture, reaches its maximum expression from the idea, widespread in medieval Europe, that women become witches, renounce God and worship the devil.Another group described in this article is that of prostitutes, whose profession is understood, from the Church Fathers, such as St. Augustine, and preachers such as St. Vincent, as a lesser evil, in order to avoid worse evils on the side of lust. Prostitutes, especially if they were muslims, were marginalized, punished, and considered vile women, because they had strayed from a honest life. The only possible alternative was to leave the brothel and be confined in a monastery, as is the case of the monastery of “Les Repenedides”, which was founded in Valencia in 1345, where prostitutes had to remain in prison for at least one year, in order to achieve social reintegration and grace before God.
Published online: 17 September 2021
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